How Do You Feel About Having ADHD?

Not so long ago, somebody asked me this question: how do you feel about having ADHD? I had to stop and think about it for a minute. I mean, how do you answer a question like that? It’s not possible to give an answer. There are many valid responses – each of them equally true. 


Multi-tiered responses seem dithery. But it’s not really a multiple choice question. No matter how you fill in the blanks, having ADD means a lot of things – none of which can be summed up in one final conclusion.

Could Spongebob have ADHD? I wonder…

How do I feel about having ADD?

Well… um… !?!?

It reminds me of a story. A young man was sitting his college final in philosophy. Daunted by the knowledge the result accounted for 50% of his final grade, he was understandably uptight. Furthermore, there was only one question on the exam. One question in which to achieve exactly half of his final mark in the class. While he had really enjoyed the class, the idea that he could blow it all on one question unnerved him.

The question was “Why?”

Nothing more, just “Why?” It was a philosophy class, after all.

Others applied pen to paper madly and fervently, concocting all sorts of intelligent and articulate rejoinders, the kind expected in academia.  He was stunned and did not know where to begin. Surveying the plethora of options, he could not comfortably and confidently choose a solid debate. So instead he sifted through and pushed aside all ideas, going straight to his gut for his response. Which was:

Why not?

He aced the exam. One hundred percent. Ten thousand words more could not offer up a better answer.

So how do I feel about having ADHD?

I could say that I hate it. I’m tired of the restlessness, the inability to focus at times and the incessant drive to always be “doing something”. I’m sick of misplacing things and forgetting important tasks, and of losing my train of thought every… what was I going to say?

I could say that I love it. It blesses me with an abundance of ideas. It keeps me on my toes. It makes me good at handling unpredictable circumstances, to think quickly and take decisive action with little preparation or notice. It certainly makes life interesting.

Depending on when you catch me, both those answers are true – at times. But for the most part, my real answer is a simple as the Why Not that aced the exam.

How do I feel about having ADD?

I don’t. I don’t feel anything about having ADD.

How do you feel about it?

How about your teeth? How do you feel about having teeth?

How do feel about having a heart? How about your lungs? What do you think about breathing air? How do feel about living on land? What about gravity – how do you feel about that?

You don’t, right?

After many years of learning about my ADD and growing with it, I have learned to accept it. I’ve had much help in learning to manage my challenges, and most of my growth has been realized through discovering and fully embracing my strengths as well. I’ve taken the good along with the bad and the ugly. My ADD hasn’t got better. I’ve just got better at living well with it. So the challenges have been minimized, opening the door for the positives to manifest themselves.

Oh yeah… and through doing this all I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach my ADD comrades and help them manifest the same in their lives. Not a bad job eh?

Truly accepting and working with ADHD means that eventually, for the most part, you won’t have too many feelings about it at all. It’s just a part of you, like your teeth and your heart. It’s just a part of life, like gravity and living on land.

You won’t have to feel anything about it. You will take the good and the bad along with the air and the gravity. It’s just a part of life. And you’ll just get on with it.

In part two to this post, we will explore why this kind of acceptance is so important. Not just important, but absolutely crucial to creating your greatest masterpiece – a life lived well. But for now, I leave you with the question once more…

How do you feel about having ADHD?

(See those spaces down there? The ones under the heading “comments”? Those spaces are for your answers so go ahead and comment! I guarantee, every comment will get a 100% mark from me!)

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10 comments on “How Do You Feel About Having ADHD?

  1. This post and Johnny’s responses pretty much sums up my feelings about ADHD.

    When I was first diagnosed at 31, one of my (many) thoughts were “Great, another ailment added to the list”. But as the months and years have passed, I am realizing more and more that not only is it a part of me, but it always has been.

    Without it, my freeform way of thinking and creative problem solving wouldn’t be. And regardless of what ill effects that may cause due to that, it’s a really nice ability that I wholeheartedly pride myself of having.

    1. That’s exactly what I always say Jason – diagnosis changes nothing, it just gives a name to that which you have always had! And in your case (and many others) freeform thinking and creativity is a nice side effect!

  2. I too agree with Johnny!
    His comment reminds me of an episode of the Twilight Zone called “Eye of the Beholder” where a beautiful woman undergoes treatment to try and look like everyone else. In the end it turns out that she is perfect and everyone else has a face like a pig!
    Being asked “how do you feel” about ADHD is kind of dumb. How does one feel about being blonde, or depressed, or short?
    Just last week, a stranger (responding to a t-shirt I was wearing) asked “what’s it like”? Now that is a much different question. I told him it was kind of like drinking a 6-pack of Red Bull while being waist deep in quicksand! “It is a blessing and a curse” I said. “I have more new ideas before I get out of bed than most people do in a week. But the problem comes when I can’t leave the house because I can’t find my car keys”! But the thought of not being creative, adventurous, funny, spontaneous, and a bit of a spaz just sounds boring! Thank you ADHD!!! 🙂

    1. Ha ha, love the analogy(ies.. actually) Marty. If I could add to the quick sand and red bull scenario, that at the same time you must hang on to your head like a helium balloon while there’s a tornado approaching from the east, west, north AND south… well that would sum it right up for me!

  3. I couldn’t agree more. Once I accepted my ADHD, my eyes opened to all that I am and have because of my ADHD. My wit, my ability to quickly solve problems, think outside of the box, etc. It took a while to spin away from all my disorganization issues and focus on the positives first though. Then I had to learn ways to work within my disorganization and learn to function.

    The biggest adjustment was to accept that I wasn’t perfect and my 85% is like non-ADHD’ers 100%. It’s honestly not that I am accepting less of my self but I am saying no to things that would have usually distracted me from my job. Because of my ADHD I was able to do way more than most people but that burned me out. So saying no to the extra stuff and just doing my expected work has been a big adjustment and life changing!

    1. What a good point Todd – we often focus on what we have to get better and for some of us, getting “better” means allowing ourselves to do less than we are actually capable of (which is still more than many others are capable of, as you so aptly put it). I admit that, much like you, once I accepted my ADHD everything changed, but learning to pace myself has been one of the hardest things to get good at.

  4. I feel like ADHD isn’t a thing at all. I feel like I’m a naturally dynamic human being stuck in a society of stunted and repressed automatons. I feel that society has the disorder and I have to deal with it, all the while being being misunderstood.

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